Massimo De Bertolis and Mike Felderer clinched victory on the third stage of the 2010 TransAlp. The Italian duo mastered the 73.64 kilometres from Ischgl, Austria to Scuol, Switzerland and its 2,504 metres of ascent in 3:06:01. The Full-Dynamix duo came in 0.5 seconds ahead of Swiss overall leaders Lukas Buchli and Thomas Stoll of BiXS iXS Pro Team, who were able to extend their lead in the overall. Switzerland's Konny Looser and Thomas Zahnd of Stöckli-Craft finished third thus, celebrating their first TransAlp stage podium in 3:08:09 after having competed successfully in a sprint finish of the chasing group.
However, the preliminary decision took place - just like yesterday - on the first climb of the day up to the highest peak of the 2010 TransAlp, the Idjoch, topping out at 2,737m. Again, last year's winners of the BiXS iXS Pro Team were the ones to attack, and again they blew apart the leading group. "We noticed yesterday that everybody was struggling hard on the climbs. And as we knew that this ascent is made for us, we had to give it a go," said Buchli.
It was a lucky twist of fate for the bearers of the yellow leaders' jerseys that later Team Fully-Dynamix was able to hold the fast pace. "This was perfect for us as we were able to work together pretty well," the 31-year-old explained. However, Buchli had to weather a moment of shock with Trentino resident De Bertolis, which could have been a decisive factor for the ranking. But fortunately both had a close shave.
At the Austrian-Swiss border, Buchli, who was already riding with a broken spoke, and Massimo De Bertolis crashed at full speed into a car. While the 2008 Swiss Champion got off scott-free ("We were very lucky as this was a very delicate situation."), the 2004 Marathon World Champion went down but suffered only grazes.
It was once again De Bertolis, who was out of luck. Over the first two days, he had struggled with stomach problems including diarrhea. Today, it finally went all well, and Team Full-Dynamix was able to celebrate a stage win, which whet their appetite. Due to this, reigning Italian Marathon Championships runner-up Felderer said, "If we are able to, we will for sure give it another try over the course of the next days. Despite the fact that it didn't go so well for us so far, we still hope for a top-five result."
Three-peat for Norgaard sisters
Kristine and Anna-Sofie Norgaard of Rothaus-Cube celebrated their third consecutive stage win. The two Danes managed to stay under the four-hour mark, mastering the 73.64 kilometres in 3:56:35. Their nearest rivals. Natascha Binder and Bettina Dietzen of German team Felt Ötztal X-Bionic / Cannondale Store needed more than 10 additional minutes to finish in second. Mountain Heroes Katrin Neumann and Danièle Troesch came in third.
Third win for Team Cube
On the master's side, Udo Bölts and Silvio Wieltschnig are still the measure of all things. The German-Austrian duo completed the third stage characterised by a high fun factor in 3:18:56.
While Team Cube is still the undisputed bearer of the blue leaders' jerseys, Team Garmin adidas/Bike and Soul was able to make up some time in the battle for the overall podium. The winner of the first ever Transalp (1998), Mannie Heymans and his mate Reini Woisetschläger rolled in the finish after 3:23:27. Both took advantage of a back wheel mechanical of Team Scott / RS Janger consisting of Johann Grasegger and Georg Koch, who still sit in second position of the master ranking.
According to their good performance today, Heymans is optimistic for the next days. "I hope that our form keeps up and that we can win a stage. This would be awesome for us!"
Green Valley Team 100 beats senior master leaders
Ferdinand Ganser and Georg Niggl of German Team Craft had to accept their first TransAlp defeat, finishing second today (3:54:21). South Tyrol's Josef Pallhuber and Hartmann Stifter of Green Valley Team 100 brought home their first stage win in 3:53:17. Swiss Max Bertschinger and Thomas Rüegg of Thomax Bike Team came in third.
Same mixed podium like yesterday
The top three of the mixed classification finished in the same order as yesterday. Once again, Craft-Rocky-Mountain-duo Pia Sundstedt and Daniel Gathof secured victory 3:37:48. Milena Landtwing and Heiko Gutmann of Rothaus Cube and Swiss credo-bikes.com riders Jane Nüssli and Markus Hochstrasser rounded out the podium as second and third respectively.
Stage 4 Preview: Scuol, Swizterland to Livigno, Italy
Before everyone has worked his way through the first half of the race, each mountain biker has to do a lot of climbing. From the first and hardest challenge of the day onward, the climb to Pass da Costainas, which begins right at the start line in Scuol, racers will go to Italy.
Lovers of nature will get their money's worth as the field will pass through almost every vegetation zone. After the descent to Val Müstair, the Pass Döss Radond is something very special as one might get the impression of riding through a moonscape. After the third and also unique saddle, the Passo Alpisella, is mastered, the route leads the teams from Lago San Giacomo on old freight hauler paths to Livigno.
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